I love my kids. I’d help clear the path to the end of the earth for them if that’s where they wanted to go. To say my life as a stay-at-home mom entirely revolves around them would be accurate. My children brought meaning into my life that I was lacking, and they bring me an unfathomable amount of joy. I love watching them grow and develop on their own tiny timelines, and I am eternally grateful that I’ve missed very little of their younger years. They are my drive to be a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend each day.
But I still need a break from them.
I’m human. I get tired, touched-out, and exhausted. I lose any semblance of patience after a long day of screaming, crying, and tantrums. Wiping tiny butts, making all the meals and snacks, and making sure everyone is taken care of all day long takes its toll both mentally and physically.
There are multiple reasons so many primary caregivers suffer from depression and anxiety and feel isolated. (The global pandemic has only made matters infinitely worse). Women, after having children, usually find themselves thinking Who am I anymore? The more I talk to other moms, the more I’ve realized we all lose ourselves (at some point and maybe even multiple times) in our service to our families.
Being a mom is an incredible role. Somehow it is everything and nothing I thought it would be—all at the same time. Motherhood is full of joy and sadness. There are moments of triumph and defeat. Trying to navigate parenting different ages and stages of your children can rock you to your core.
All any mom wants to do is raise good humans.
You’ve heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” You can find it pretty much anywhere these days with the societal increase in focus on self-care (especially for women). But I disagree.
You absolutely can pour from an empty cup.
People in every walk of life do it every day. That’s why, in my opinion, so many people find themselves struggling. In society, we are taught how to argue, work, and “hustle, hit, never quit” but we are rarely taught how to listen, self-reflect, and prioritize ourselves. There’s a difference between prioritizing yourself and being selfish, it’s not a fine line at all, and I think we, as moms, especially fear being called selfish.
If you worry if you’re a good mom, then it’s probably a guarantee you already are a good mom.
Moms cannot be expected to be present 24 hours, 7 days a week for 18+ years of a child’s life. Not only is it impossible, but it’s also unfair. Sure, we all decided to have kids on our own accord, but just because someone has children doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a break.
If you are feeling completely depleted in your role as a mom, then it’s OK to take a break.
Pouring from an empty cup is emotionally, physically, and spiritually damaging. Moms have been on severe hyper-overdrive for the past 2+ years due to the pandemic, and most of us were already drained before COVID arrived.
I’m here to tell you it’s OK to fill your own cup, in your own way, on your own time.
For me, that’s taking a break from my kids. It’s simply that I need time to myself to recharge. I need space to feel like my own person and not just someone’s wife, mom, daughter, and all the other labels I carry. I need time to be just me, and honestly, I think we all do.
I don’t want to look back when my kids are grown and remember little of their childhood due to being completely depleted and exhausted. I want to look back and know I took care of myself and that allowed me to take better care of my children.
A break is going to look different for everyone.
It could be going to work, sitting in your car alone in silence, a girls trip, a romantic weekend getaway, finding a new solo hobby, or even eating a dinner alone that you didn’t have to cook. Whatever makes you happy and fills your cup—and only your cup not anyone else’s—then do that.
It’s OK to get a break from your children and enjoy it. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like less of a mother for doing so.
Take the break, Mama. You deserve it.